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Lost an account

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Easy Outs, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Easy Outs

    Easy Outs Member
    Messages: 36

    Bills from the blizzard went out and payments started coming back in. One came back with a cancelation. It was from a church. I thought they would have problems with the bill because they previously had someone from the church plowing it for free, and the first bill I send them is for the biggest single snow fall our area has had lol.

    They had a laundry list of complaints, but my other clients were happy for the most part...other than the bill. One thing was I charged for 1.5 tons of salt throughout the storm. There is over 80,000 sq ft. I didn't think that was unreasonable at all, but "two professional" plowing companies told them that I couldn't have used that much salt (I have an insert spreader). They were also unhappy with how long it took to plow them out, but told me prior to the storm that they could be my last priority. I guess they thought they would have church Sunday?!?! (We had 33" of snow in my town, which stopped about midnight Saturday, and drifted terribly after that). So even though they thought the bill was too high, they suggested I should have kept a vehicle on their lot the entire storm plowing to keep it open, which would have been over 30 hours of billable time and a lot more than I charged them.

    There's a lot more to it than that, but I just wanted to vent a little. Did anybody lose any contracts? I know I saw places that had to bring in companies from out of state so I'm sure somebody did.
  2. oarwhat

    oarwhat Senior Member
    Messages: 166

    Don't sweat it! You'd never ever be able to plow it as good as the free guy did. I'm sure he's the one behind the complaint. We plowed a VFW post. They said plow it on Tuesdays by, 5 Wednesday by 5, Fridays by noon and open it up every day when ever. Well deliveries are this morning and the cleaning crew is this morning. It still was a good contract. We lost it because we didn't plow for special events, funeral breakfasts etc that they never called us FOR!!!
  3. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    I lost one by text message. I am not terribly upset. I am in Maryland also. I told all my customers that service would be slow because of the volume of snow. Most understood. Some were unreasonable. I got the nastiest emails, phone calls, and text messages. You would have thought that I was the cause of all of this.

    All that happened was that the customers played musical chairs with snow plow operators. I am sure you serviced that Church the best you could.
  4. Randall Ave

    Randall Ave PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,590

    Everyone in that storm had at least one grumpy customer. Nothing you can do about it. They did pay the bill? Those storms separate the, I think I cans from the people who no they can.
  5. Easy Outs

    Easy Outs Member
    Messages: 36

    Yes, they paid.

    I had them completely plowed Saturday night other than what fell again during the time it took to plow but it drifted shut like I was never there by Sunday. If there wouldn't have been walls of snow around the perimeter I would have thought we weren't there lol. Our actual roads were not all plowed until Tuesday evening. I didn't think they actually thought they would have service on Sunday...other churches called us to dig them out later in the week because their normal guys didn't have the equipment.

    We made a killing on the storm, but I'm bothered because we've never lost a commercial account before.
  6. 2005STX

    2005STX Member
    Messages: 39

    Don't let it bother you. I lost one after the blizzard in 2011. Most people will never understand how hard it is to clean up that much snow. I ran out of room to push snow and had to bring in a guy with a bobcat. We had those crazy drifts to. 6-8 ft in one of my lots.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  7. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    E/O >>> If you provide good service, don't worry about it. You'll pick up customers to take the place of what you lost!!!
  8. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    So far one of the easiest winters we had in a long time I lost 4 banks
    Because these many companies sign anyone
    So that blizzard we plowed 27 hours straight all my places were happy other companies couldn't keep up and have them open again like u not their fault town roads weren't open but TD fired their mgmt company or out them on hold and I lost out because some people have no clue about reality
    So I feel for you do your best and keep on moving foward
    Speaking about tons a place that didn't take my bid calls me they want me to finish the year out their old guy charged them for 36 tons during the storm
    We only got 20 inches and the place should only take 3-4 tons per storm it always amazes me how the good honest guys get screwed over and the dishonest guys get paid
    They cut him a check for it and then had to put a stop payment on it after I explained that was impossible to put down there
  9. Easy Outs

    Easy Outs Member
    Messages: 36

    When we contracted with them I told them they would probably have sticker shock since they had never paid for service before. I guess they thought I was kidding. 33" of snow and drifting sure didn't help the situation.
  10. DJM2011

    DJM2011 Junior Member
    from 12033
    Messages: 8

    Say who you are !

    More then likely you might get those TD's back. its not like its easy to find another person to take on 5 or more banks mid winter, Find out who was awarded the banks, explain that you wish to continue servicing them and that a blizzard is a blizzard...
  11. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Mighty christian of them.
  12. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    We had commmercial lots that just never got done by some contractors during the blizzard.. First time the were touched was Monday afternoon when the businesses shouldve been open already. And yea how dare you think just because you got a record storm saturday people wouldnt be out and about sunday morning
  13. Doin_It

    Doin_It Senior Member
    from Mt.
    Messages: 136

    Keep doing it for free. We don't do anymore snow for free for churches, just cause we don't have time/space. But we do 3 churches in the summer for free. It adds up to just over $20,000 a summer.

    So we do the summer work, bill them at the end of summer. Great thing with this is we can charge out at max rate and no discount's given for anything.

    They send us a check for payment. We then send a check to the church, I send them the same amount back. Being they are tax exempt they then issue us a tax receipt and we get to claim it against our taxes.
  14. chevyhauler

    chevyhauler Senior Member
    Messages: 152

    The farther north you go, the more people are used to snow (and large quantities of it). We are in New England, and people are kinda used to it, but nothing like the lake effect guys. I would imagine that folks in MD think that you can just flip your pony tail (I Dream of Jeanie reference) and the snow is gone.
    Don't sweat it.
    Even up here, we had a 36" Blizzard. Property owner calls to ask when his lot will be clear. He said that it was the Chinese Restaurant asking. I asked him if he realized that the roads were still legally closed by the Governor? His answer......"Um, No." My response, "I don't know what to tell you bud, other than that their customers cannot, legally go to them and they cannot, legally, deliver." "You are my next customer but it may be 3 or 4 hours before I start then no idea how long to clear 36" of snow, after it was snowing 4"-6" an hour. There is just no keeping up with that."
    My point to you is that was up here...in New England where people are more used to snow. Down there, it had to be exponentially worse. Don't sweat it bud.
  15. pdreibels

    pdreibels Member
    Messages: 63

    Just imagine if this blizzard had been on a weekday!! We had 31" and I've never been paid so fast by our customers. Billed Jan 29th...all but 1 commercial had paid by Feb 9th.
  16. tddannem

    tddannem Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Can't compete with free man. I usually walk away when someone says.... we had a guy who used to do it for free but.. I don't plow snow for days straight without sleeping, deal with sub zero blizzard conditions, etc for free.
  17. Ford.crazy

    Ford.crazy Junior Member
    Messages: 22

    Don't worry about it, ya win some and lose some. Some people don't understand what we go through while plowing in a blizzard. I fired one during the blizzard, check out my post http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=166266 first time I ever did this but the more your in business you learn who to keep who to drop and who you will never be able to please. It's just part of business.
  18. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,797

    Love these stories. People don't get it.

    Reminds me of a few years back, subbed a truck and a skid to another company as they picked up property management company with retail properties and the one that was 40ish miles away from where this guy was based was to far for him to try to manage. He is in a heavy urban area... I am not.

    To make a long story short... newer development on the edge of town, corn fields for miles to the west. When the wind blows like a b*tch, any snow that gets pushed to the west, blows right back in... so we plow whole lot to the east side of the lot, then let it blow, not my problem anymore.

    Guy shows up days after a good event as he cannot justify the hours on the lot. Calls me screaming asking if we have ever plowed snow before, and asks why in gods name would we carry all the snow to the east side of the lot and accused me of trying to make the piles look bigger than they should have been. I explained my actions and he said that was total BS. I chuckled on the phone and I guess that pissed him off. He hung up on me and faxed my office a termination letter. I drove up to site, pulled my skid and my tarp and tires on the salt and walked. Needless to say he put his own truck and his skid on the site.

    I always got a good laugh driving by there after we were out on a salt event and seeing his guys plowing the west side of the lot to clear the drifts that were 1/2 way across the lot and as tall as the piles... when I was just salting my accounts.

    Needless to say, the next season, the whole lot was plowed to the east side every time... wonder where he ever got that idea??? :eek:

    Some people you just can't make happy. So why try?
  19. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    Dido, no big deal in this situation. If people can't figure stuff like this out screw them, I have enough stress while plowing let alone entertaining a bunch of idiots who can't grasp common sense things. It happens to all of us.
  20. 94gt331

    94gt331 Senior Member
    from usa
    Messages: 293

    Agreed. I have a idiot or two that I plow for and they think plowing 30 inches of snow is the same as plowing 3 or 4 inches. They can't understand why you cant push massive piles of snow anywhere they feel is best. These customers need to run a plow truck for a winter or two before they start complaining about minor details in a big snow event.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016